Eligibility: SCHOOL DENYING 13YO FOR IEP WHICH MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS PROVIDES

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Debra:  My son has an autism spectrum diagnosis but the school is constantly denying him an IEP because they say they don’t see the problems that the doctor’s and I see. They have allowed him a 504 but refuse to accommodate him in the ways he needs because a 504 does not allow those things. How do I get the school to understand that if they don’t give him proper accommodations, he will decompensate to the point of requiring hospitalization and not be able to attend at all?

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5 Comments on "Eligibility: SCHOOL DENYING 13YO FOR IEP WHICH MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS PROVIDES"

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Thank you for the replies! Does anyone have an idea of where I could go to get an independent evaluation and what kind of cost might be involved? I live in the Kansas City metro area so I am sure that there are resources but I don’t know where I would look.

I’m not near Missouri, but I can offer some generic places to look that may help in any state.
In case it comes to it, you want an independent evaluator who can sway a hearing officer – so find one that already has. Many states provide online access to due process hearing decisions. If your state does, search for those that involve children with autism. From those results, look for ones where the hearing officer gave a lot of weight to the parent’s evaluator – generally ones where the parent partially or fully prevailed.
Another great source is to get referrals from other local parents. Your local parent center (http://www.ptimpact.org/) and parent-to-parent organization (http://mofamilytofamily.org/) are good starts. You could also try your local Arc (http://www.arcofmissouri.org/) and local organizations supporting families of kids with autism.

Make sure that the independent evaluator will go to bat for you, meaning that the person will go to your meetings with you, and behave in an assertive way. I have learned the hard way that it is not always enough to bring a strong letter to a meeting.

Debra –
Practical speaking, nothing is expressly allowed in an IEP that can’t also be included in a 504 plan. The important difference between eligibility under IDEA and Section 504 is the level of rights and protections each affords to students and parents.
That aside, here are a few thoughts I have…
Whether your goal is to get the IEP or to improve the 504 plan, the #1 thing to do is obtain a quality, comprehensive independent evaluation for your child. As parents we may be experts in our kids, but we’re not all experts in educating kids with disabilities. So we need someone who is, to back up our requests. Evaluation results in hand, you’ll have an easier time convincing others (teachers, administrators, hearing officers) of what your child needs.
If you’ll work towards getting the IEP, has the school already completed an evaluation and found your son ineligible? If so, you can provide the independent evaluation report to the school and ask that they reconsider.

If they still find him ineligible, you have the right to request a due process hearing. If you do, that evaluation report will be a key asset.
If the school simply refused to evaluate, you can present the independent evaluation report and ask them to reconsider that decision. If the school does then decide to evaluate, they can use the report in lieu of some or all of the evaluations they would conduct. If the school still refuses to evaluate, you can still request a due process hearing.
If you’ll work towards an improved 504 plan, you can present the independent evaluation report to the school and ask that they use the information to update the plan. Strictly speaking, the school has no obligation to consider the results (a key difference between IDEA and Section 504), but most will do so. If the 504 plan is not updated to your satisfaction, or at all, you have the right to request a due process hearing under Section 504.

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